Nowadays you might think about homeschooling because of all the fear of traditional schools. Will my child get sick, will they be bullied or get mixed up with the wrong crowd? These are all seemingly sound reasons but don’t homeschool if it’s just because of a feeling.
Don’t homeschool because someone told you, or you have no time and are concerned about socialization. If you have an inactive lifestyle, an unsteady job, want to save money or you are afraid of teaching just stop! And if you fear the autonomy of homeschooling or your child is against it, don’t do it!
Don’t Homeschool Because Someone Tells You To
Don’t homeschool just because someone tells you. When my wife told me we were going to homeschool my youngest child, I didn’t pay much attention. You shouldn’t homeschool just because someone tells you! Firstly it was years before we had to even consider it because he was still a toddler in preschool. But after I had time to think about it and research this way of educating your children I was hooked. But I can see that it’s worth it only after I put in hundreds of hours of research for homeschooling.
As a dad that homeschools, I’m a rarity it seems. I took this challenge because I noticed at first that most dads didn’t get involved much. And I felt this should not be the way. I cannot just let my wife handle the whole process of such an important task. I set up Dad Cares Too to make sure to share our journey with other families. And to let other fathers know that they can make a difference and are vitally important to the whole process. But we should not homeschool just because someone tells us to.
We should only homeschool once we research it fully and decide if it is right for your family. The time it takes to fully prepare and carry out homeschooling is significant. And the resources you will need can be limited depending on where you live. In the United States, most people are fortunate enough to live in communities where there are many other families homeschooling. But where we live abroad, it’s more of a challenge. However, you should not homeschool if you don’t have the resources, time, or patience for it.
If You Don’t Have Time, Don’t Homeschool
Homeschooling takes 3 hours or more per day in seat time on average for a child at the late-elementary school level. If your child is only beginning like ours at the kindergarten level, you may start at less than an hour per day. But if you calculate in the preparation time, meals, playtime, and all of the supervision it could take half a day or more. This depends on how much time you are willing to set aside for your child. Homeschooling can consume a great deal of time if you do it well. And it’s best if you have someone to share the responsibilities with.
Homeschooling Hours Per Day Based on Grade Level
|Grade||Hours Per Day||Notes:|
|Grades K to 5||Half-day: 2 to 3hrs||May include playtime or field trips|
|Grades 6 to 8||Half-day: 3 to 4hrs||Depends on other courses: 2nd language, Art, Music…|
|Grades 9 to 12||Half-day+: 3 to 6hrs||May include extracurricular activities, outside classes|
As a dad who cares about this very important matter, I took the lead to research our path to educating our youngest son. My wife had the idea to homeschool when our son was very young, I think around 4. At first, I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t think she was serious. I only thought she believed it was a unique solution others were trying. But as I got more into the research, I noticed that it was mostly mom taking care of this immense task. I knew I had to help my wife with homeschooling. She is also a music teacher so she works full time like myself. But we do this together because I feel it must be a balanced process from both parents if at all possible!
Typical Middle School Schedule, 4.5hrs (You may adjust as needed)
|12:00-1:00||Lunchtime! Then recess|
|2:45-3:30||Electives-Music, 2nd Language, art, PE|
Don’t Homeschool If You’re Worried About Other People’s Opinions
When you homeschool you shouldn’t be worried about what others think about it. You will get many kinds of opinions about this no matter if you asked for them or not. In our case, we are lucky so far to not have to deal with many negative comments or opinions. Our family is supportive so far for our decisions. Although we do get an occasional suggestion here or there. My parents have always felt my decisions are good since I have lived abroad for over 24 years. They know I’m independent and make the right choices for my family.
However, we do hear from others that it can create a stressful situation as your homeschooler gets older. You will get the occasional stare when you are out during school hours, or a question about why your child is not in school. I don’t think it will be an issue for me, since I have never really paid much attention to what others think of me or what I do. But if you are the type who is not able to handle these situations, then you probably don’t want to homeschool your children. You are going to be under society’s microscope.
Don’t Homeschool To Save Money
If you think you will save money homeschooling, then think again. It is not free just because you don’t need to pay tuition anymore. Depending on your path and curriculum, it can be very economical for sure if compared to private education. The average we have spent so far is roughly less than a few hundred dollars so far. But the HSLDA, a homeschooling organization, has estimated you can spend from $50 to over $500 per year on one student’s expenses for homeschooling.
The other major economic cost will come from the time you spend on preparing, teaching, and loss of income due to not being able to work. One or both parents will need to spend significant time to homeschool. Most situations will mean 1 or more parents won’t be able to work normal hours. However, with a creative and supportive spouse, you can certainly find a solution to homeschool. And in some situations, you might be able to schedule it around your home business activities. But don’t do homeschooling just because you think it will save you money.
If You’re Afraid To Teach Your Child Don’t Try
Teaching your child anything is difficult. My wife is a music teacher, and when anyone finds this out, they always ask which instrument she taught our son! But we haven’t yet because she knows it’s a challenge. But as parents, we are always teaching life skills. So why shouldn’t we be able to teach them math, reading, or science? Some researchers believe that we have different expectations for our children. And especially a stronger emotional commitment to them.
“We have these sort of artificial benchmarks of where we think children should be academically, and I’m not sure that those are going to apply in the next year or so”Kathleen Minke, director of the National Association of School Psychologists
It’s also widely known that very often parents connect the child’s progress and development to their self-worth. Some parents lose sleep over their child’s poor grades like here in Asia. The test results and grades are all publicly posted in many schools here, so other parents and students can see everyone’s performance! This can give you bragging rights as a parent, or shame! This may seem like a good way to promote competition and create better performance overall. But for some, it is a nightmare to have to deal with and brings much anxiety.
But if you have difficulties with teaching your child, then you do need to be aware of it and maybe decide against homeschooling. You will certainly create a tense and stressful environment if you can’t teach your children well. Both you and your child will suffer and you may lose your patience and temper. Psychologists suggest choosing your relationship over everything else if you must decide. Keeping a good family bond is probably more important than homeschooling!
“Maintaining positive, productive relationships within the family is important, and that should precede any worry about whether or not you’re doing X number of hours of schooling every day.”Kathleen Minke, director of the National Association of School Psychologists
Parents Don’t Have A Steady Schedule
If you don’t have a steady family schedule or working schedule, you may not want to homeschool. Let me explain. In homeschooling and anything to do with children, they are creatures of habit. So you must develop schedules and keep them. Children do best when they have rituals and habit-forming activities that guide them in their studies. Teaching a distracted child is possible, and we wrote another useful article about it here. But it’s best if you can maintain a regular schedule of learning.
If your work schedule is not fixed and this means it may interfere with the child’s learning, please reconsider. If however, you can arrange a way for you to work around that schedule with your spouse, then this may be a good solution. My wife and I take turns with various subjects, so we can change our schedule but maintain our child’s learning schedule. Also if your family is moving around and does not have a stable base, you might want to review how it will affect a homeschooling schedule.
Not Involved And Not Teaching
We know a family that is not involved in any of the teachings of their child and hires private tutors to handle the education. We find this very unlike most homeschooling parents. If you are not involved or teaching we suggest not to homeschool. Research shows that parents that actively participate in a child’s education are beneficial for their performance. This article outlines most homeschool parents’ feelings and encourages engagement. This almost has a universal level of importance in not just homeschooling but overall involvement in a child’s education.
This kind of situation would leave the child feeling very isolated and lacking the necessary attention from teachers or guardians. We know this because the child is a student our family knows and teaches. This student shared their views on homeschooling in this manner. And to us, it seems very unlikely to be a good way emotionally. However, it might be necessary for some situations. Our recommendation is not to homeschool if you do not want to be engaged in your kid’s future. The only situation it may be necessary is if you need to temporarily homeschool and we wrote a very clear and helpful article here.
If you do not plan on teaching any classes then homeschooling is not a good idea for you. We get it that there may be some hesitation that you might feel inadequate. However, many curriculums have teacher’s guides and can assist almost anyone to teach or guide their student. Some courses are more likely to be done out of your home. Music or art you might consider to do with an outside class or group. And a foreign language as well, however many classes you can handle. Teaching is a way for you to bond and connect with your child. So we suggest you reconsider if you plan not to teach. Because you are bypassing one of the most gratifying parts of homeschooling.
Don’t Homeschool if You Are Not Active
If you are not used to going out and about during the weekdays by yourself and the kids, then don’t homeschool. If you plan a full rich weekly schedule for homeschooling, then you will need to also be ready for the field trips and other outdoor activities. You will not be staying home all day with your kids in homeschool, that is a myth. Eduction happens all day long and can be done anywhere, not just in your schoolroom. Since you can be more efficient you will have more free time to do things with your kids.
And they will have a chance to be a part of your daily activities as well. Your kids may be able to help you do many things like shopping for the family or do some house chores. This is all very normal for many families who homeschool. It’s not that they are free labor, but this is all about learning life skills and preparing them to be useful and helpful adults. You will be able to do many things together and you might even do things like workout, do some gardening and learn together. If you are not active or this bothers you, don’t homeschool.
This also goes if you are not in to physical education or exercise. Kids need to have a chance to exercise and be active throughout the day. In most schools, you have multiple times during the day for them to run around and play sports to keep fit. Children also need this for their mental development. Did you know that in Finland, which has some of the best schools worldwide let kids leave after only a half-day of school? Do you know why? It’s because they want kids to play and hang out with family and friends.
Educators in Finland believe that kids need playtime for them to take in what they learned. Not to cram their brains all day long with some many facts that they cannot possibly remember anyways. They also focus on the why, so kids get the point and know why they are learning something. The following video was an eye-opening experience for my wife and me.
Not OK With Student Centric Education and Autonomy?
If you can’t accept to let your children direct and even provide input into the curriculum choice then don’t homeschool. We believe one of the many advantages of teaching your children by yourselves is autonomy and specialized attention. You can customize what they learn based on their interest and passions. Yes, it won’t be crystal clear at day one, but you will notice what is piquing their interest over time. This attention is a definite advantage for raising educated and happy kids.
There are many benefits to homeschooling which we also outline in this helpful article. And one that we like is that it gives you opportunities to be able to focus more on what your kids enjoy. Like recently my son is in to learn more about how to draw. He is only about 6 years old but he can draw some very interesting pictures we have learned. They are not Picasso’s but as a parent, I was surprised that he would be able to pick up on this skill so quickly. If he were in a traditional school, which is teacher-centered where we live in Asia, we’d never have learned about his interest in drawing. And most likely we wouldn’t have time to teach him this valuable skill.
So if you are not ok with taking the lead in the homeschooling curriculum and involving your child, then homeschooling is not for you. Some parents might find this intimidating and maybe scary. Like for example, on our recent visit to a relative’s home, we were asked about homeschooling. And what if we don’t prepare our son with the right knowledge for him to be able to get into a college? We asked, how can we be sure the local school will prepare our son to get into the right college? And how do they know what college he wants to get into?
We are confident that we will prepare our son with an education that will provide him with a good basis for whatever he wants to do in the future. To homeschool, you will have to be confident in your decisions and performance as a teacher and career counselor for your family. But think about it for a moment. You will be involved with daily education and you will be able to sense much more about your child’s direction and progress since you are the teacher, right? But if you are not convinced and you don’t like this autonomy, then don’t try it!
Don’t Homeschool if You Worry About Socialization
If you worry that your kids will turn out weird and unsocialized, then don’t homeschool. Socialization is an important variable in the homeschooling venture and should be handled carefully. Your kids will not have the same way to make friends. In a traditional school setting, they can meet and hang out with classmates all day. They can walk to class or play in the hallways or during class. However, in a homeschool setting, this is less likely. No matter what, you will alter your child’s socialization path. So you need to consider if this is something you are willing to undertake.
At first, I thought it would be fine. But as I spent more time researching the ways to handle socialization I realized that we as parents will need to address this situation. And we must plan out the opportunities for their chances to make friends. This is an important task because this has to be engineered. Since they are not in a traditional school, this means fewer opportunities for making friends. This is both positive and negative we know. Your child can make friends with both “good” and “bad” students in normal schools. But in the homeschool, you will create the chances for them to meet others through outside or group classes. Or through other meetups or extracurricular activities.
We also realize that some parents choose to homeschool for reasons that may be necessary like their child is being bullied. Then this is a good option for you. We also realize that even if a child attends a traditional school they may be too shy to make friends or they are just not extroverted. One must realize that no matter where your child is educated parents can make a difference. And parents can also engineer and facilitate chances to make lasting friendships. In homeschool, we have this advantage to be more selective in who your child makes friends with. Some parents may find this awkward and are themselves not good at making friends. If so then you may not want to consider homeschooling.
If You Cannot Arrange Any PE Classes, Don’t Homeschool
We think homeschooling is not a good idea if you or your spouse is not into doing any physical education or don’t believe in it. Children usually get much exercise in a normal school setting. They might walk or bike to school and also get a chance to be active throughout the day walking to the various classes. Your children will also need to take Physical Education (PE) and participate in either team or individual sports. In your homeschool, you will also need to have some PE as well. It’s all necessary for healthy development and you cannot neglect this fact. This article we found says it the best!
If you instill a good sense of health and exercise at a young age, they will keep these habits throughout their life. My daughter is 17 now and she has been on the track team since she was in middle school. The habits she developed including the discipline have shown in her school work. She is a self-starter and can keep herself on track in her studies as well as regular exercise. Even though she is now doing volleyball, she maintains a weekly schedule herself of jogging and stretching. We can tell she will keep these habits because it becomes second nature for her.
If Your Child Doesn’t Agree to Homeschool Be Careful
Don’t do homeschooling without your child’s agreement. This last reason is one we give with caution. Certainly, you can make decisions for your own child as they may be too young to comprehend the intricacies of education. If the child is older they might have serious resentment and this will negatively impact the process. There are many advantages to homeschooling and we wrote another helpful article here. It’s recommended you take time to discuss the possibilities before making a decision that will affect the entire family.
The younger the child is, the more likely the transition will proceed smoothly. Every reason we give you to not homeschool may be easily overcome if you want to seriously tackle the situation. But the overall message is that there are many pitfalls. And if you make a decision in haste without fully comprehending the homeschool challenges, then doing it against the wishes of your child is surely a mistake. Please don’t homeschool if your child is against it! It should be a family decision and a fun process with the aim of a love of learning for everyone involved!